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Posts Tagged ‘Vatican’

Well, so you’ve probably heard that the largest body of Presbyterians in the U.S. have voted to allow gay clergy.    I’m not actually going to delve into that here because it is clear to me that mainline Protestantism is busy destroying itself from within.   The situation reminds me of the book of Judges which tells us what happens to the people when they have no king, and each man decides for himself:

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what he thought best.  Judges 21:25

Now, the really funny thing about this quote and why it matches the situation with the Presbyterians so well is that it comes immediately after, and by way of explaining, the previous chapters concerning the tribe of Benjamin.  If you haven’t read it before, I won’t ruin it for you.  Suffice it to say that the chapters concern homosexuality, licentiousness, abuse, rape, murder, more murder, lies, cover-ups, chaos, mayhem and evil. 

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what he thought best.

So…this is what the great reformation has wrought.  Everyone, every denomination doing what he thinks is best, and moral relativism’s grip gets tighter.

Oh, but I said I wasn’t going to discuss the Presbyterian Church situation, per se.  Right.  Okay, back to the point of this post.  What I want to talk about is the response to the Presbyterian Church situation, at least insofar as other more orthodox Protestants view it.  Which brings me to today’s article in Christianity Today, the magazine of Evangelical Christians.  In an article entitled, The Road to Gay Ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a Reformed Presbyterian theologian by the name of Dr. S. Donald Fortson III addresses the voted change to that denomination’s constitution.  Dr. Fortson is a Professor of Church History and Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary—Charlotte. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which (I learned from reading his article) broke away from the main body of the Presbyterian Church in anticipation that it was only a matter of time until the main body fell to “a pro-gay agenda relentlessly pressed until at length Presbyterians officially landed in the gay ordination camp”.   

The article itself is brilliant in its linguistic and theological acrobatics to say how wrong this decision by the PC(USA) is, how unbiblical and outside of tradition…without of course, admitting that the entire Protestant Reformation was…<ahem>…unbiblical and outside of tradition.  And of course, to make his point, this Reformed Presbyterian relies on the Church Fathers of the Catholic Church to make his case.  It’s a brilliant use of equivocation.**  Really, it’s brilliant

Here are some examples of Dr. Fortson’s theological heroics:

And church history is crystal clear: Homosexual practice has been affirmed nowhere, never, by no one in the history of Christianity. The church fathers insisted that doctrine and practice must be tested by Holy Scripture. In addition to careful exegesis, another test was catholicity, that is, what has been the universally accepted scriptural interpretation passed down in the church. (emphasis mine)

To what church is he referring?  the Presbyterian Church?  Or that other one

I kinda think he means this one

He continues–

When novel teachings were shown to fail both the careful scrutiny of Scripture and the consensus of the orthodox Fathers, heretical ideas were doubly condemned.

Um, gosh, could the ‘novel teachings’ he refers to be something like, I dunno…sola fidesola scriptura?  If you remember your history, they both failed the careful scrutiny of Scripture and the consensus of orthodox Fathers, not a one of whom supported either.  The reformers were the ones who championed these novel teachings.

He goes on to quote SAINT Vincent of Lerins (without “Saint” naturally) —

… if anyone wishes, to detect the deceits of heretics that arise and to avoid their snares and to keep healthy and sound in a healthy faith, we ought, with the Lord’s help, to fortify our faith in a twofold manner, firstly that is, by the authority of God’s Law [Scripture], then by the tradition of the Catholic [universal] Church. …[W]e take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.'”

Um, Dr. Fortson, I know you are a scholar and like a teacher of kids as well as an actual historian so I’m sure you realize that (this is embarrassing) but uh, you do realize that you misquoted a church father, right?  I am sure that you did not mean to suggest that St. Vincent, the Catholic monk said, “the univeral church” because of course, he didn’t.  He said, the Catholic Church.  Changing the name of the church would seem sorta like you are hiding or obfuscating facts and of course as a Professor of Reformed Theology…I know you wouldn’t do that.  I mean, it’s not like he was just some presbyter schmoo.  He was a monk.  So I’ll just correct it for you.  Here, let me correct your mistake.

‘… if anyone wishes, to detect the deceits of heretics that arise and to avoid their snares and to keep healthy and sound in a healthy faith, we ought, with the Lord’s help, to fortify our faith in a twofold manner, firstly that is, by the authority of God’s Law [Scripture], then by the tradition of the Catholic Church. …[W]e take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.'”

Yes, yes!  ‘the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere’…yes, the Presbyterian Church has been taking great care to hold onto that which has been believed since the time…er…well, since the time that it formed itself in defiance of that which was believed everywhere, always, and by all.  But I will take your word for it that since the time of their rejection of the universal beliefs of the universal church, they have been really really good at holding onto that which has been believed everywhere.  (So that is, what?  1541 or so?)

Dr. Fortson, now on a roll, heads toward his conclusion–

Christianity is a tradition; it is a faith with a particular ethos, set of beliefs and practices handed on from generation to generation. The Christian tradition may be understood as the history of what God’s people have believed and how they have lived based upon the Word of God. This tradition is not only a collection of accepted doctrines but also a set of lifestyle expectations for a follower of Christ. One of the primary things handed down in the Christian church over the centuries is a consistent set of …

I’m sorry!  I need to take a break.  Laughing too hard.  BRB!

kk, sorry, where were we?  oh yes…haha, we were talking about the Christian tradition, some of us more seriously than others.   Dr. Fortson now makes his dramatic and unintentionally Catholic and/or seriously hilarious conclusion regarding the matter at hand–

Revisionist biblical interpretations that purport to support homosexual practice are typically rooted in novel hermeneutical principles applied to Scripture, which produce bizarre interpretations of the Bible held nowhere, never, by no one. (emphasis mine)

So there you have it.  Typical Reformed Protestant absconds with Patristic Fathers, rewrites what they say to make them agree with his Protestant theology, and equivocates his way into agreeing completely with the position of the Holy Mother Church circa 1520 all the while still assuring himself and his wayward, defiant Protestant flock that while it is meet and right to condemn homosexuality via the tradition of the Holy Catholic Church, because, well, you know, those Papists got it right on that one, but hey, don’t come waving your authority in my face!

Hahahahahaha.   I wish I had an nth of the intellect and scholarship of someone like Dr. Michael Barber who I know would see layers here that I do not.  Nevertheless, I  find this whole article ripe for satire and abuse.  I wonder if these earnest Sophists ever realize how absurd and hilarious they are!  God bless ’em. ***

**a quick lookup of the word “equivocation” reveals that its synonyms are misrepresentation, deceit and doublespeak.  To be charitable to Dr. Fortson, we are only using the definition of equivocation in the philosophical use, meaning a fallacy.

***and my original response via the comment section may not have been as charitable.  Mea culpa.

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I meant to post this closer to last weekend, but travel and illness kept me from it.  However, I am very happy that our namesake has been beatified.  Chiara “Luce” Badano was declared Blessed on Saturday, September 25, 2010.

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Young Chiara Luce Badano has been an inspiration to me for the way she wholely, unreservedly and intentionally chose to accept God’s plan for her life.  Her joy is palpable in her actions of her life, in her words passed down to us, and in the very photos of her life, especially her long terminal illness.

Blessed Chiara Luce, pray for us!

(Click here to see the very moving video on her life and cause which Rome Reports has posted.)

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Do you ever get tired of politicians, liberals, malcontents and and agitators playing the “Catholic” card?  For instance, doesn’t it make you cringe when the evening news leads off with “Catholic Nuns Support the President’s Health Care Bill!” — the same evening news that buried the USCCB statement opposing the same health care bill?

I think the time has come for the Vatican to trademark the word “Catholic”.  Why not?  Think of how gloriously empowering that would be!  And wouldn’t the coolest thing ever be if the Bishops or the Vatican or the CDF or Pope could issue a cease-and-desist letter to all vocally defiant Catholics in the public sphere telling them they are no longer allowed to represent themselves using the term, Catholic®?  Such a letter, in my happy daydream, goes something like this:

We are the law firm of Aquinas and More and we represent the intellectual property rights of the Holy Catholic® Church.  Your recent use of the trademark, Catholic® on the Sunday morning talk show, Meet the Liberal Press, to add bonafides to your support of [insert morally repugnant position here] infringes on our rights to this trademark and you are hereby ordered to cease and desist from all other uses of our trademark, Catholic®.  Further trademark infringement of our mark, Catholic® will result in legal action, which may result in treble damages.  On behalf of  the Holy Catholic® Church, we appreciate your attention to this matter.”

Here are some other recent examples of the highjacking of the Catholic name in order to further a policy that has been rejected by the Bishops, who – if you do  not know – are responsible for the doctrinal teaching of all faithful Catholics and whose teachings we are required to follow, not ignore, snub, circumvent, twist around, dismiss, or roll our eyes at.

What riles me most about all of this is that the defiant, disobedient kids get all the attention from the press.  Not the Bishops (unless to criticize them) or the faithful clergy and laity. I know why that is: it’s because it furthers the agenda that the liberal press wants, which is bigger government, socialization of health care, an expansion of abortion rights.  But the fact the the Magisterium teaching of the Church is shuffled off to the bottom of the articles, if mentioned at all, really gets my goat. 

I really cannot wait to take over from the Baby Boomers and whatever the heck the generation before them was called.  We want our Church back, “thank you very much for your time and effort, please pick up a Rosary, a carnation and a free missal on your way out the door.”

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As I blogged about earlier in the week, the Anglican Church in America, part of the Traditional Anglican Communion decided on March 3 to request to be received in the Catholic Church via the “the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States of America”. 

This is awesome news!  Please pray for these returning brethren as this transition may be tough, and is certainly heartwrenching for so many of our Anglican kin, who have been abandoned by their own leadership.  Pray for healing, for understanding, for grace and wisdom and patience.

And continue to pray for our holy father in Rome, our awesome Pope Benedict whose wisdom and foresight and strength have made these transitions even conceivable.

God is good.

h/t American Catholic

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As I mentioned the other day, I am participating in a Lenten Bible study.  It’s fantastic. The evening group I am in is a mixed and lively one and quite large: I think we are averaging 16 attendees.  Our focus each week is the Gospel readings for the upcoming Sunday of Lent.

I am not sure why, but the leader is having us use, as source material and background, a series of pamphlets called Sunday by Sunday, published by Good Ground Press.  These pamphlets  aren’t awful, but they aren’t good, and oh boy, I sure shake my head over some of the stuff I read in them.  For instance, this little reworking of the first reading for today, from Exodus.    Here is the NAB version:

Meanwhile Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

2
There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed.
3
So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.”
4
When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.”
5
God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.
6
I am the God of your father,” he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
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But the LORD said, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering.
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Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites…
13
“But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”
14
 God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.”
15
God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. “This is my name forever; this is my title for all generations.
Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15

Now, here is the version in the helpful Sunday by Sunday:

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian.  As he led the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  There an angel of God appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush.  As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed.  So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.”

When God saw Moses coming over to look more closely, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.”  God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.  I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah; the God of Isaac and Rebecca; the God of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel.”

Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.  But the Holy One said, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know  well what they are suffering.  Therefore, I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

“But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is this God’s name?’ what am I to tell them?”

God replied, “I am who causes to be.” Then God added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.”

God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: The Holy One, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, the God of Isaac and Rebecca, the God of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel has sent me to you.  This is my name forever; this is my title for all generations.

See that?  see how all the patriarchal references have  been helpfully removed?  See how artfully they added those names of the matriarchs to the list?  Isn’t it nice of Good Ground Press to correct Scripture for us?  We all know that the Jews are just a bunch of sexist pigs anyway, which is why the Bible is full of fathers.  Father this and father that.
In past weeks, I noted in group discussion that the prayers provided by Sunday by Sunday with which we open and close our sessions scrupulously avoid calling God, the Father.  “God the Creator,” “life-giving God,” “Spirit of God”… A litany of New Agey, somewhat Goddess-y, person-centric description of an omnipotent He/She God.  I stated my complaints to the leader and the group.

Blessedly, nearly the entire study group agrees with me that this is offensive.  (Our group has two men, the rest of us are women.)  The only one who does not, has a master’s in Theology, circa 1970.  Perhaps you will draw the same conclusion that I did regarding this fact.

By the way, Good Ground Press is “A Publishing Ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet“.  Honestly, I did not investigate them as I said to myself I would.  But I gotta think that this is no doubt one of those groups of religious women who have not responded to the questionnaires of the Apostolic Visitation

I also wonder if, like the other intractable Women Religious orders here in North America, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are aging themselves into oblivion.  If their order is as off-the-rails as I suspect they are – and I have every reason to believe they are based on their shameless rewriting of Scripture – then to that I say:

Good Riddance

 What do you think?

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I missed this news, too.  Forward in Faith Australia voted UNANIMOUSLY to explore conversion to the Catholic Church.  CNA has a good report:

Melbourne, Australia, Feb 18, 2010 / 05:34 am (CNA).- By a unanimous vote, the Anglo-Catholic group Forward in Faith Australia has established a working party guided by a Catholic bishop to explore how its followers can convert to Roman Catholicism.

The group, which also has members in Britain and the United States, is believed to be the first within the Anglican Church to accept Pope Benedict XVI’s offer to create an Anglican Ordinariate, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The Ordinariate, a form of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, will enable Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining parts of their spiritual heritage.

Bishop David Robarts, chairman of Forward in Faith Australia (FIFA), said members felt excluded by the Anglican Church in Australia, which had not provided them with a bishop to represent their views on homosexuality and women bishops.

“In Australia we have tried for a quarter of a decade to get some form of episcopal oversight but we have failed,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “We’re not really wanted any more, our conscience is not being respected.”

Bishop Robarts, 77, said it had become clear Anglicans who did not believe in same-sex partnerships or the consecration of women as bishops had no place in the “broader Anglican spectrum.”

“We’re not shifting the furniture, we’re simply saying that we have been faithful Anglicans upholding what Anglicans have always believed,” he continued. “We’re not wanting to change anything, but we have been marginalized by people who want to introduce innovations.”

“We need to have bishops that believe what we believe,” he added, saying that converting to Rome would allow the group to retain their Anglican culture without sacrificing their beliefs.

The unanimous vote to investigate the establishment of an Ordinariate was held last Saturday at a Special General Meeting of FIFA at All Saints Kooyong in Melbourne.

The meeting issued a statement saying it received with “great gratitude” Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution proposing the Ordinariate. It also expressed commitment to care and support those who feel unable to be received into the Ordinariate.

The FIFA meeting “warmly welcomed” the appointment of Bishop Peter Elliott as a delegate of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference. It also established a working group called Friends of the Australian Ordinariate, inviting FIFA members and other interested persons to provide their names and addresses to the group.

Bishop Robarts said his group was the first Forward In Faith branch to embrace Pope Benedict’s offer so strongly. Other Anglo-Catholics are waiting to see if the Anglican Church will allow them significant concessions on the introduction of women bishops, such as a male-only diocese.

The Traditional Anglican Communion, which has already broken away from the Anglican Communion, is another group to have declared that its members will become Catholic under the Apostolic Constitution.

In other Anglo-Catholic news, Telegraph reporter Damian Thompson reported on Feb. 17 that the former assistant Anglican Bishop of Newcastle Paul Richardson was received into full communion with the Church in January. He served as an Anglican bishop in Papua New Guinea and was diocesan bishop of Wangaratta in Australia.

Richardson said he was not planning to join the Ordinariate but has not ruled out ordination as a Catholic priest.

Copyright © CNA
(http://www.catholicnewsagency.com)

To say that the current Anglican Community is “marginalizing” the Traditionalists is a gross understatement.  It seems to this independent observer that the Communion has de facto booted them.  They have no say at all, and are not even given lip service. 

If Forward in Faith Australia wishes to join our Holy Mother Church, then let me be the first to welcome them.

Australian Anglo-Catholic group votes to explore conversion to Catholicism :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

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Orlando, Fla., Mar 4, 2010 / 03:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday, leaders of the U.S. branch of the Traditional Anglican Communion formally requested to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

In a statement released yesterday from a meeting of the House of Bishops in Orlando, the Church announced, “We, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America of the Traditional Anglican Communion have met in Orlando, Florida, together with our Primate and the Reverend Christopher Phillips of the ‘Anglican Use’ Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement (San Antonio, Texas) and others.”

“At this meeting, the decision was made formally to request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States of America by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” the statement said.

The decision follows Pope Benedict XVI’s publication of “Anglicanorum coetibus,” which was released last year and addressed measures planned by the Vatican to allow Anglican communities to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

Rev. Fr. David McCready, associate rector at St. John’s Cathedral in the Diocese of the Missouri Valley, offered his opinion to CNA on what will ensue after yesterday’s decision.

The associate rector explained that a long process and several stages are ahead for the Anglican church community. According to Fr. McCready, each diocese will have to meet for an individual synod and eventually come together for a national one. The rector believes that although there could be initial resistance among some within the Anglican community, as “people are often worried of what they don’t know,” eventually, once things are clarified, unification on the move should not be an issue.

 

Traditional Anglican community requests to join Catholic Church :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

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